Council rejects plans for floating strip club

June 11, 2010 No Comments »

Owner, Martin Driscoll, aboard the HMS 69

Plans for a lap dancing club on the River Taff have been rejected by Cardiff Council on public safety grounds.

The HMS 69 would have taken private parties of 30 punters on 3 hour trips up and down the Taff and Ely with strippers.

The boat has operated since June 2008 as a party boat for stag, hen do’s and birthdays, but owner Martin Driscoll said customers wanted the option of lap dancing.

He said: “I’m disappointed with the decision, as the people of South Wales had been asking for this. We’ve had over 7,000 customers since we launched and of those 75 per cent have been women and they were the ones who were asking for strippers. They wanted a bit of flesh on their hen nights.

“We take our security obligations very seriously, we have four CCTV cameras onboard and two security guards, plus four other staff members.”

Parties would have to shell out £1,200 for the boat ride, and strippers, and 31-year-old Driscoll thinks it’s a growing market.

“I’m a Cardiff boy, born and bred in Grangetown,” he says “but I went off to Thailand and Australia saw what they did there with party boats and thought there would be a big demand for it in Cardiff. I’ve been proved right with how popular we are.”

South Wales Police objected to the application and at the licensing committee they raised concerns over public safety and how any incidents would be controlled on the boat.

Tony Bowley, licensing officer, said: “We are pleased with this sensible decision and we will continue to object to all inappropriate applications where crime and disorder is an issue and public safety is put at risk.”

During the meeting Bowley question Driscoll’s competency to run a boat with lap dancing on it.

He said: “We’ve heard how the applicant has tried to soften the application, reducing it from taking 49 people to 30 people. We don’t think that Mr Driscoll can operate these premises, especially as he hasn’t run a lap dancing club before. It’s out on the water and if any incidents happen it will be isolated and we would have issues with enforcement.”

South Wales Police also gave evidence about a serious assault that happened on the boat, where a mother of two was punched several times in the face following a dispute.

Chair of licensing committee, Ed Bridges, said: “We were worried about the size of the premises, being too small, and issues of crime and disorder. In the interest of the public we thought it better to reject the application.”

City centre lap dancing club, For Your Eyes Only, objected to the application.

In a letter to the committee the club’s head office asked how dancers would be protected once on the ship and how unruly customers would be dealt with.

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